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It's April 8th and Spring temps aren't anywhere in sight in Seattle. From what I can tell it is still in hiding across the country. Maybe soon?

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw


Strange Practice is about Greta Helsing, descendent of the Van Helsings and doctor to the undead, and three of her friends trying to find the person (or persons) terrorizing London. Overall, I really liked this book. It has unique characters and I've discovered recently that I really enjoy a book with a medical or scientific theme that is written so that the non-scientifically inclined can understand and enjoy it. However, I did have several issues with the book.

Until the fourth chapter I thought the book took place in the late 1800's; It does not - it is present day. There were a few insights to that along the way but really I feel that it should have been made more clear. The audiobook narrator, Susanna Hampton, has a wonderful voice and reads well, however it would have been nice to have a pause between changing points of view because there are several to keep track of. I think this contributed to my main issue: I had a difficult time keeping the three main male characters straight. Two vamps and a demon make Ruthven, Varney, and Fass. I ended up keeping notes on a post-it to reference each POV change. I would have also liked a bit more background on the supes, especially the difference in a vampire and a vampyre and why they can be in the sun.

There were also some minor story/character issues, but overall I am intrigued enough by Dr. Helsing to look forward to reading the second book in the series.

3/5 Stars

Tasting Paris Cookbook (Early Review)


When Clotilde Dusoulier announced that she was coming out with her fifth book I may have lost it a little. In a good way. I have all of her books, love her blog (Chocolate and Zucchini, which is one of the first blogs I ever read), and even hired her for a food tour of Montmartre when we were in Paris in January 2017. She has such a healthful and unique approach to food, using and combining ingredients I never would have thought of myself.

Tasting Paris is Clotilde's most approachable cookbook yet. Whenever I get a new cookbook I go through it, page by page, writing down each recipe I'd like to try. The recipes I make note of are those that aren't too intimidating and I would feel comfortable making that night for dinner if all of the ingredients were in the kitchen. Most cookbooks I go through have ten or fewer, some have 20-30, but Tasting Paris has 50 recipes that I want to make right now. 

I have already made the Oven-Roasted Ratatouille into Ratatouille Pita Sandwiches with Chopped Eggs & Tahini Sauce. This week I am making the Classic Ham & Bacon Quiche and Roasted Squash Soup & Curried Cheese Quenelle. Soon after that I'll be making a Potato Chip & Chive Omelet, Croque Madame, and Tuna Escabeche. There's a comfortable mix of super easy recipes, regular weeknight dinner recipes, and others that are a little more intimidating to the average cook. But for those that fall into the "intimidating" category, the ingredients and steps are very approachable and will only require a little courage to get started (I'm looking at you, Kouign Amann).

My version of the Ratatouille Pita Sandwich.

Frisée with Bacon & Egg. Photo courtesy of Clotilde.

Salted Caramel Flaky Pie (Kouign Amann). Photo courtesy of Clotilde.

Classic Ham & Bacon Quiche. Photo courtesy of Clotilde.

The photography was shot by Nicole Franzen and it is absolutely stunning. There is almost a photo for each recipe but a few are missing. Keep an eye out for more recipe reviews in my Wednesday Whimsy posts and a compilation post in a few weeks.

If you haven't yet, please go check out the Chocolate and Zucchini blog and if you have an interest in cooking (or know someone who does) you can pre-order or buy Tasting Paris here or pick it up in a bookstore tomorrow, March 20, 2018! I am honored to be a part of the Tasting Paris launch team, for which I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

5/5 Stars

Wednesday Whimsy #17


Bonjour and happy Wednesday. I spent last week recovering from ECCC and going to even more author events. On Monday I went to see Anne Bishop and Patricia Briggs at the University Bookstore and on Wednesday I went to see Zack Davisson, who did a presentation on the supernatural cats of Japan. This week I had a new book club meeting on Monday and tonight I am going to see Leslye Walton (I know her from The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender) for her release of The Price Guide to the Occult. It's going to be another fun and busy week.


I recently reread My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. Not only is this book enjoyable to just real through but the recipes also looks amazing. I've started buying cookbooks for my kindle so I can read and cook from them on my iPad. Plus, if you keep an eye on them, you can often find them for 1.99 - 2.99. Yes, please!

A second book mention: I got an email from Amazon this morning to let me know that Antoine Laurain has a listing for a new book coming out later this year. It looks like Smoking Kills came out about 10 years ago in France and we are getting a translation at last. I've already pre-ordered my copy.

An interesting and informative write up of the different between Brie and Camembert. Do you have a preference?
Will this marriage advice be the newest trait for Americans to adapt from the French?
French travel essentials from Sabina Socol.

Last week I mentioned Netflix's Witnesses and this week I'm talking about La Mante. I loved Witnesses a lot so I was very surprised when I liked La Mante even more. La Mante is a serial killer who is in jail for life. Suddenly a copycat starts killing and La Mante offers to help with the case but will only deal with her son, who is estranged from her and a cop. Oh, and no one knows she is his mother. This was a thrilling show and it was so exciting to find out who the killer was.

For those of you local to Seattle, this year's French Fest has been announced.

Wednesday Whimsy #16


Bonjour and happy Wednesday. And happy March! Where did February go? That month was pretty uneventful for me and then March kicked off with Emerald City Comic Con and four author events to follow throughout the month. It's a great month to be into books.

I am so excited to have made it on to the launch team for Clotilde Dusoulier's new book, Tasting Paris. It will feature 100 recipes to make me (and you) feel like I am one step closer to being truly French, just... not. Be sure to pre-order the book and following along here and on Instagram for sneak peeks before it releases.

How spending a year in France made this mom more tough.
An artsy view of Paris.
How to dress Parisian from a Parisian.
After finishing two great French Netflix shows (more below) I'm happy to hear Amazon is following their lead.

A few weeks ago I binged Witnesses on Netflix and couldn't get it out of my head. It's about a woman who is a cop and I think it brings just enough foreign flavor to make an old thing (cop show) feel exciting. I also now love Marie Dompnier, who is the lead in the show. Watch it and let me know what you think! P.S. Are you on TV Time? It's an app I use to keep track of what tv shows I'm watching and what I have watched. Add me here. P.P.S Did you see they added another season of Marsailles?! I'm watching that next.

Have a great week.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018

I just finished two almost-full days of ECCC. Each year I refine my game plan based on the year before and I feel like this year went great. The first and absolutely most exciting thing I was there to do was to get my hands on an ARC (advance reader copy) of Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne. They are two of my favorite authors and I am so beyond excited that they are writing a series together! Once I had that book in my hands I was able to relax and enjoy the rest of my two days. I also picked up schedules from Penguin Random House, First Second Books, and Image booths for signings and giveaways.
Out of the three panels I had on my list I only made it to one of them: The Darker Side of Fantasy with Cherie Priest, Delilah S Dawson, Ed McDonald, Jesse Bullington, Josh Malerman, R.A. Salvatore, and Todd Lockwood. I went for Cherie and Delilah and it was great to learn about the other authors who were also there. I ended up getting an ARC for Josh Malerman's upcoming book, Unbury Carol. All of the below books I got were free from the Penguin Random House booth, which was my favorite booth to visit of course. Maplecroft and Some Girls Bite are the only non-arcs and I got through a promotional signing with the authors.

When I saw that The Line was a Southern Gothic about witches in Savannah I couldn't not get it. I got it signed by the author who is very nice and I was able to speak with for a bit. I also picked up a copy of the second book in his newer series, The Book of the Unwinding, which is more horror and about witches in New Orleans. I've enjoyed a few of Myke Cole's other books, so when I saw he had a book out in a new series I had to get it. Here's my review for the first book I read by him, Gemini Cell.

Joe and I have been wanting to plan a trip to Tokyo and in case we do get to go this year, I picked up Cool Tokyo Guide to get myself used to the idea of going. I'm so glad I was wondering aimlessly to pass time waiting for a signing and happened to go by the booth for Kinokuniya. Abby Denson was there doing a signing for this book and she was so nice to meet. I also picked up Clovis while waiting for a different signing. It's a comic about the journey of a prehistoric Native American woman.

I always stop by Benjamin Dewey's booth and buy at least one thing. This year he had just illustrated cards for a game called Werewolf and of course I bought a set. I hope to one day have enough people gathered so I can play. I picked up a small sticker by Karen Hallion of her print that combines Doctor Who and Beauty and the Beast because WHAT IS BETTER? Also, ice cream flavored kit kats! Usually I get the matcha flavor but I couldn't resist this new treat.

Glow-in-the-dark Lying Cat!!!! I snagged one of the last few because I definitely needed another funko pop.

You may want to sit down for this one. There aren't many celebrities I'm interested in paying to get a picture with but when David Tennant was announced as a guest I didn't need to think twice before buying. He is wonderful and delightful and much taller than I thought he would be (I'm 5'8" for reference). Can I do it again?

I'm already looking forward to next year.

Lake Silence by Anne Bishop (Early Review)


I love this series.

Lake Silence is a continuation of a series called The Others. The first five books took place in a town called Lakeside and revolved around a blood prophet living with the "others." This book follows Vicki DeVine, a human woman restoring a lakeside resort she got in her divorce. Things get real when her lodger, crow-shifter Aggie, finds a body on the property and suddenly they're rushing to find out why he was killed before anyone else gets hurt.

This book is told from several points of view but the transition is smooth and natural, never taking you out of the story. I could hardly put the book down while Aggie and Vicki were helping solve the murder and Vicki was discovering the true purpose of the resort. Anne Bishop writes the supernatural in such a natural way that you can't help but believe in this alternative world she has created. My favorite part of her writing is how she approaches utterly unique relationships in such a creative and thought-provoking way. I highly recommend this series.

5/5 Stars

Lake Silence will be out on Tuesday, March 6th, 2018.

I was given a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.